Novatium and Tata Teleservices launch Nova netPC, thin-client based network computer

Tata Teleservices and Novatium have partnered to launch Nova netPC (priced @ Rs. 2499), the thin-client based network computer.

Nova netPC is a thin-client based network computer that supports both Windows and Linux operating systems. It can also run local applications using USB peripherals. Its server driven delivery feature makes it an obsolescence free desktop, as all the updates are carried out centrally through the server. – source

The netPC is unique in many aspects:

  • It does not carry the burden of the CPU, software, hard disc, and applications – all these elements reside in the central server at the administrator’s end.
  • It has a simple architecture – based on that of mobile phone and media player chips. This reduces the cost of the device.
  • It is multimedia enabled, with the capacity to provide real-time multimedia experience.
  • It is compatible with Windows/Linux/Solaris operating systems.
  • It can support multiple USB peripherals (USB pen drive, USB hard disk, USB printer, digital cameras, etc.), speakers and microphone.
  • It is an appliance-like device – all you need to do is to switch on and log in.
  • It is Internet ready – there is no need to approach Internet Service Providers for Internet access.
  • It consumes about 5 W of power – hence there is no issue of increasing electricity bills. – more

It’d be interesting to see Nova netPC fares in the market.

Update: Sumanth left an interesting comment :

The press release glosses over a number of points which merit attention:

  • The fee quoted does not include the price of a monitor which needs to be purchased separately. So assuming a price of say Rs. 3,000 for a decent monitor, the total price for the capex comes to Rs. 5,499…not much lower than entry-level PCs that retail in the Rs. 10,000 range. Would users perceive the difference to be valuable enough to justify giving up on a full-fledged PC?
  • There is a monthly charge that needs to be paid for connectivity…something in the range of Rs. 300 – Rs.400. Now this raises an interesting question – how many folks who are presumably extremely cost-conscious (to justify choosing the NetPC over a regular PC for the Rs. 3.5k difference) would be amenable to paying Rs. 400 per month?! My guess would be none! There is an essential disconnect in the customer profiling model…
  • What’s more, this monthly charge only gives the user 30 hours of usage time per month – anything extra requires an additional fee – since the NetPC is useless without connectivity, what they are offering is basically a PC that can be used just for one hour a day!
  • Also, the apps that comes for the basic fee are trivial commodity apps like games and media player…anything meaningful like Microsoft Office has an additional fee of Rs. 100 per month…now contrast this to the normal PC seller who is likely to just throw in a pirated copy of Office for free with the purchase!

So all said and done, this proposition unfortunately seems to be DOA…the only sliver of hope is if Novatium can provide some unique compelling apps that drive user adoption…

Hoping against hope that Novatium can pull it off…

What’s your take?

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